Maori Reference collection

Many publications by and about Māori are available for lending in the non-fiction collection. However, a more extensive range is available in He Puna Wānanga - Heritage & Research at He Puna Manawa (21 Devonport Road) for use when you are in the library. Not only do we have recent books, but also the older, more difficult to find publications.

There is a particular focus on the Māori history of our rohe, known as Tauranga Moana. We have copies of the Tauranga Māori Land Court Minute Books, the reports for the Tauranga claims to the Waitangi Tribunal, some family histories and references from the Bay of Plenty Times.


Ngā Kete Wānanga on display in He Puna Wānanga 

(Tāne and the three baskets of knowledge)
Master carver Tuti Tūkaokao  1989
This is the story of how Tāne, the progenitor of mankind, of the forests and all the creatures of the forest, ascended through to the uppermost realm.  This realm was occupied only by lo-Matua-Kore, God-the-Parentless, and there Tāne obtained the three baskets of knowledge.  He returned to Earth with the knowledge and created humankind from the Earth.
The story of Tāne ascending to the uppermost heaven and retrieving three baskets of knowledge, which were ko te Kete Tuauri (darkness), ko te Kete Tuatea (light), and ko te Kete Aronui (pursuit).

What he did with these baskets is described in a traditional chant as:
“These were distributed and implanted about the earth
from which came human life
growing from dim light to full light
there was life.”

Te Waharoa o te Mana Mātauranga 

The carving Te Waharoa o te Matauranga, created by James Tapiata is located with our archives at an offsite location.

Te Waharoa

(The Gateway to the Power of Knowledge)

Master carver James (Hemi) Tapiata 1994

Members of Tūhononga Wairua presented the carving to the Tauranga Library in 1994. The main purpose of the carving was to attract and welcome Māori into the Library and to provide a point of identification for all who come here. In 2022 it was relocated to an offsite location alongside the library archives, which are available for customers to view by appointment by emailing


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